Sunday, May 17, 2009

Icons of idocy

Ben Lewis so eloquently described exactly what I've been feeling about some of the overpriced dross that has been occupying the contemporary art world in the past decade in his wonderful Times online article a couple of days ago. It never ceases to amaze me what people will accept if someone in authority tells then to think like this, or buy that, behave in a certain way. Society is far too easily led! We have the wealth of civilisation and knowledge at our over educated fingertips, yet why is it, when it comes to many things like purchasing art, reading wonderful literature, or deciphering what the newsreader is blurbing out on the 6pm nightly news, people loose their brains, powers of reasoning go out the window...just vanish into thin air. I've been watching totally bemused for a number of years now, no-talent artists producing 1000s of multiples of the same work, selling as many as they can produce, with poor quality materials and no sense of anything at all. I hope the current state of the economy will reset people's thinking power and they'll begin to question again. Ask the questions that need to be asked, fall in love with a work of art because it means something to them and feel that they will never part with it for as long as they shall live. Much more preferable to asking how much will this artwork be worth in five years, meaning how much money are you as an artist going to make for me. Its just disgusting, it makes me sick.

I believe in creating art for the right reasons, because you want to create as a method of expression, not to make a dollar. This is why I have always worked full-time in another profession, to support my art, so as not to be in the position of painting for money, I cannot bare that scenario. Nor can I stand myself to just walk up to the easel and blindly paint just because I can. It is not a good way to conduct your art career (except when you are just out of art school and finding your feet), to exhibit just because its your turn in your galleries cycle. You must have something to say, it is for this reason, I sometimes don't paint, it is always on my mind, but I don't see the point of painting to fill an exhibition just because your dealers space needs 30 paintings to fill it. Its just not on, it is better to have 10 large, well constructed images, that are the best that you can do at the time, with a couple of studies on the walls, than more dross for the mill. I also feel that painting is a continuum throughout your life, whilst your subject matter may change over time, it is still this journey, one that I started when I was about 5 or 6 years old in earnest. I've always wanted to paint, I feel unsettled if I don't paint, all those things swimming around in my head just waiting to get out, its almost a cathartic process, that I need to go through.

I look forward to seeing the spin out to a more credible and honest art world in the future.